- On 26 May 2021
- Tags TEFL Florence
Being a student makes you a better teacher...
There are many ways that you can create a good rapport with your students: by integrating relationship
building activities, asking questions to the students, and remembering the things that they share with you.
But a healthy rapport shouldn’t just be a show we put on. A more authentic dynamic comes from the
empathy we hold for our students and our understanding towards their language learning journey. By being
a language learner yourself, you can strengthen your empathy even more because this way, you will have
your own learning experiences that you can refer to.
If the teacher and student remain isolated groups who are just delivering and receiving a service, you both
may encounter some frustration. As the teacher, you may be delivering your lessons well, but your student
may not be grasping or retaining them. From the student’s perspective, they may not feel like their needs
are being met, or maybe the pace of your course isn’t right for them.
In my own experiences studying other languages, I’ve learned some things about myself as a student that I
think have helped improve the perspective I have of my own students’ situation. As a language student, I’ve
had to get reacquainted to myself as a student. It has taken some time to figure out what kind of support I
want, how I like to get feedback, and what the most effective ways for me to study are. Your student may
also be learning these things as they go along, so be attentive and open to the fact that their needs or
preferences may change along the way. Keep communication open with your students about how they are
doing and provide frequent and varied forms of feedback.
It’s easy to tell our students that studying outside of class is necessary, but in practice, it’s a lot easier said
than done. Many of our students have a variety of other commitments in addition to studying English. Even
the most well-intentioned student may lose track of their chance to study or may procrastinate. Be
encouraging to your students, ask them about their study process, and offer study tips if they’re in need of a
When you are planning lessons, take a moment to stand in your students’ shoes before you kick off a new
topic. Have you given enough time to the last thing you taught, or are you moving ahead too quickly? As a
teacher, it may seem like once we cover the lesson plan and students seem to comprehend the concept,
that it is a good time to move on. Repetition never hurts. Even if it feels repetitive to you, a topic may need
a couple incarnations in different forms before it sticks with your students.
Be sure to also incorporate opportunities to cycle back and review the previous topics. Review is
completely underrated! In order to learn something well, we have to return to it repeatedly. A great way to
help your students recognize their progress is by creatively assessing what they remember from completed
topics. Consider integrating previously studied target language or grammar points into new lessons, or build
in time for a short quiz or review exercise. This also is informative for you as a teacher in case there is
something you need to revisit!